Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to set up Spy Cameras

By Pete Phaedrus

I am often asked, in my line of work, how to set up spy / hidden surveillance. I am posting here a quick primer that should get you up and running quickly. Enjoy!

1. Figure out what camera suits your project.

With all of the great options available to you picking just one may be difficult. Before deciding, please consider the following.

Where will you be hiding the camera? Pin hole cameras are wired but very small and hide well, or do you want a camera built into a device. Whatever you decide, chances are you will need to hide some wires. For a wired camera you will have two wires to deal with, The data cable, which can be either BNC or RCA.

BNC is pretty much a cable TV Cable wire with the exception of the end which is modified into a spring loaded twist lock which prevents it from coming apart. RCA is the Red Yellow and White TV cabled that commonly connects from your VCR to your TV. Radio Shack sells the RCA Cables if you need one. Second is the power cable. All of our cameras come with an AC to DC converter, but depending on where your camera is hidden you may need a power cable extender.

Using a wireless camera is a good option. Just be aware that no data wire often means you will be hiding a big bulky transmitter, and a 9 volt battery will only last a couple of hours. So choose well.

2. I'm Looking Right at it, But I don't See It!

One of the better options for hiding is plain view is to purchase a camera that looks like something that is already in the environment.

One popular option is our motion detector style unit. While this unit will not function as a motion detector it is a great way to hide your camera in plain view. Most people won't even give it a second look.

Another option is a fake smoke detector. It will let you camouflage your black and white or color camera, and if you have a drop ceiling, it is easy to install.

The only issue with these options is that the additional device may be noticed by whoever you may be spying on. For Instance, If you use our fake smoke detector and put it over the cash register in your restaurant to find out who is stealing from you, your employees may very well see the new smoke detector and figure out that it's a camera.

3. OK, Camera is Up, Where does the Output Go?

Video as Data: One of the really neat things about our cameras is their connect-ability. Because they are either BNC or RCA they readily connect to most TVs and VCRs allowing you to tape or view the data as it happens.

One of the best ways to to spy over time is to connect your PC via our DiGiCam Software and USB Camera Cable. This will allow you to connect to your PC or laptop computer and record the video directly to your hard drive. It's a great way to monitor what is happening over time.

We sell boards that can accommodate up to 16 cameras at one on one PC

That's pretty much it! As always, we welcome your questions and will try to answer them as quickly as we can. Just email us at Good luck with your Project!

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